The Magna Carta : Text analysis.
The Magna Carta, also known as The Great Charter, is a compendium of 63 charters firstly written in Latin by Stephen Langton the archbishop of Canterbury. He was the representative of all the Barons who acted as a group. Although, it has been translated into English in different occasions the title of the charter remains in Latin. The document was signed by King John of England, the king at the time ,on the 5th of June of 1215 on the bank of the river Thames, in the water meadows of Runnymede during the First Baron war.
This document is mainly important for two reasons. Firstly, for its significance, as it was the first attempt of the people, in this case the ...view middle of the document...
Nonetheless, when the King failed in his military campaigns, take the example of the loss of the north of France, he imposed new taxes without asking the Baron’s approval. It is important to point out that the Barons even felt compelled to start a war against the King and they supported the heir of France. As we can see, there were many reasons why the Barons along with the Church felt the need to write The Magna Carta.
On the other hand, King John was not in good terms with the Church either, because he had a dispute with Pope Innocent II. They disagreed on the election of the new archbishopric of Canterbury, one of the most influential positions of the Church at the time. The Pope wanted Stephen Langdon for the position but faced strong opposition from King John. They could not reach an agreement and the result of this quarrel was the excommunication of the King in 1209. In addition to this, the Pope banned all church services in 1207. This action angered not only the Barons but also the freeman as religion was very important because it was seen as the salvation of the soul. Needless to say that religion in medieval ages was regarded as the most important aspect in people’s life. As a consequence of this backlash the ruler attacked many times the Church, taking with him part of the Church’s wealth.
For the reason above mentioned being the unfair treatment that the Barons and the Church of England were receiving by their ruler it can be claimed that The Magna Carta is the immediate consequence against the King John’s actions, a king famous for his arrogance and cruelty
If we focus on the clauses we can observe that although there are a large number of clauses, up to 63, we can classify them into different groups according to the matter the clause is dealing with: the freedom of the Church,the improvement of the civil rights, ( a better treatment of the taxes paid when one had to inherit) and the setting up of righteous and fair trials.
However, after the first reading, we can claim that among others, two points wanted to be highlighted: the independence of the Church and the stoppage of the high taxes that Barons had to face.
It is not a coincidence that the first and the last clause are about the freedom of the Church. As we can read in the first chapter a strong point is made “…the English Church shall be free, and shall have her rights entire, and her liberties inviolate…”.This point is reinforced again in the last clause, the number 63. No one would dispute the fact that the Church wanted to make a clearly statement, to win back the privileges once it enjoyed. Tired of being oppressed and robbed, The Church here tries to become a separate an independent group with it owns rules and without being told what to do by any king.
The following clauses, from 2 to 12, deal with the high taxes. It was a difficult situation because they had to pay large amounts of money in different occasions. For this reason these chapters are about how to...